25th Medicine Wheel Vigil

call to artistsCALLING ALL ARTISTS


In 1987 a small group gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would forget.  This action served as the beginning of the Names Project, Also known as the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  On December 1, 1989 A Day Without Art began as a National Day of Mourning in response to the AIDS Crisis. In 1989 Boston Artists created thousands of 12” x 4” paper prayers in response to a call by Yerserki Gallery, well-known artists, students, youth, and children did these. In 1992 Medicine Wheel was built in the Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts.  The Medicine Wheel Vigil has become an enduring testimony to HIV/AIDS in our lives.

In those early years we were being asked the unimaginable question,

Where would we be without art?

This year I invite the artistic community of Boston, New England and beyond to give testimony and invite reflection on the power of art help us navigate and facilitate who we are for ourselves and who we can be for one another.

For visual artists: create a 4 foot by 4 foot panel to become part of a mural to line the walls of the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts.  Work should be based in bearing witness, testimony, remembrance, love, loss, longing and survival

v  Paint and Panels are available for pick up at Medicine Wheel 110 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127.

  • Limited palette of Black and red
  • Other materials may be added but they should be black and red as well

v  We can arrange to deliver panels to you or your groups

v  You can join us at Medicine Wheel and work on your panel here: through Thursday November 18th

  • Tuesdays, 1:00 pm -9:30 pm
  • Wednesdays, 10:00 am -9:30 pm
  • Thursdays, 3:00 pm- 7:00 pm

Panels Should be returned to Medicine Wheel, 110 K Street by November 21, 0r delivered by noon time on November 28th to the Cyclorama Building of the Boston Center for the Arts 539 Tremont Street.

For performing artists: Help us sanctify Medicine Wheel by making an artistic of poetry, song, dance, music or performance.  Each year we invite artists to offer a breathtaking experience to mark each hour of the 24-hour vigil.

For the spiritual community:
Mark one of the 24 hours with a blessing, prayer, ritual or meditation

For the public:  Join us from City Hall Plaza on November 30th 10:45 pm as we light City Hall red and process to the cyclorama for the 24 hour Medicine wheel Vigil

Join us and cast your hand to create a spiral of interlocking hands to honor our connections. Vigil begins at 11:30 pm, Wednesday 11/30/16 and goes for the full 24 hours of Thursday 12/01/16

For more info call 617-268-6700 or 617-872-6065

Or email info@mwproductions.org


Read more about Medicine  Wheel Vigil


Ribbon Cutting

Irish Consul General: Fionnuala Quinlan

Irish Consul General: Fionnuala Quinlan                  Photos By Brian McCarthy

Artists Michael Dowling and Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile  cutting the ribbon

Assistant Secretary of Business Development & International Trade for the Commonwealth, Nam Pham, Boston Parks Commissioner Christopher Cook , Artists Michael Dowling and Caoimhghin Ó Fraithile, State Senator William Brownsberger , and Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner William Christopher, cutting the ribbon

Kathleen Bitetti, curator Medicine Wheel and Kelly Brilliant, The Fenway Alliance

Kathleen Bitetti, curator Medicine Wheel and Kelly Brilliant, The Fenway Alliance

Commissioner Chris Cook, Boston Parks and Recreation

Commissioner Chris Cook, Boston Parks and Recreation





Medicine Wheel Board Honors Artisitc Director Michael Dowling

Join us at the TAJ to Celebrate 25 Years of Art and Healing and to honor Artistic Director  Michael Dowling’s Vision of a shared new future!  For tickets




Artistic Director in Boston Police Commissioner William Evans Office,  Presenting Hand in Hand


Dowling’s artistic work takes many forms, but it is united by his deep conviction that art and

the act of artistic creation have unrivaled power to break barriers and bring people together

around a common sense of purpose. Dowling is interested in the potential for personal and

collective change found in this liminal experience of crossing and uniting in what Dowling

calls the “threshold” through which individuals pass at the invitation of a work of art or, better

yet, as they share in the act of artistic creation. Certainly there is a long genealogy to the

notion that art can or should serve as an agent of social change, but Dowling’s

understanding of the nexus between art and change is both more nuanced and more

practical than I had previously encountered. As we worked together on the Liberty Tree

Project in 2014 and 2015, I came to understand Dowling’s vision of the power or art and the

role of the artist as both deeply aspirational and surprisingly earthbound. Dowling’s work

proceeds from the idea that something important happens when we bring together people

from different backgrounds and with different experiences and views of the world and invite

them to share a common experience of collaborative artistic creation or interpretation. They

learn that they are not as different as they had expected. They learn to communicate, to

listen, to understand. Indeed, they are changed.”

Nathaniel Sheidley Historian and Director of Public History The Bostonian Society


Medicine Wheel Celebrates 25 Years of Art and Healing!

Moving beyond Diversity to Inclusion, Building Community From the Inside Out, Using Art as the Threshold.

“Medicine Wheel is the Go to Organization for Art and Healing” 

Ayanna Pressley – Boston City Councilor-at-Large

Become a spoke of the Wheel



 In 1992 we were invited by the Boston center for the arts to create an installation cairnandritual to honor a Day Without Art/World AIDS Day.  During the 24 hours of Dec 1, people carried stone to the center of the vast Cycolrama to mark the impact that HIV/AIDS was having.  Two womaen tried to move the heaviest stone in the room.  I offered to help and the young man, long dead from AIDS, ringing the gong offered.   When I offered a third time one of hte woman turned to me and said. ” You don’t get this do you?  Her son my nephew, just died form AIDS.   This is our weight.  My work as an asrtist and the owrk of Medicine  Wheel began at that moment.  We have been blessed to continue our work and will be installing the 25th Incarnation of Medicine Wheel  this year at the Boston Center for the Arts.

“One of the most significant events ever in the City of Boston, involving thousands of artists, young and old, from every neighborhood over the years. Remembering the lives of some of the most beautiful people to ever grace the planet.

Laura Brown, Artist




































Launch of Liberty Tree


The American Revolution began in Boston.
Between 2015 and 2026, Boston has the opportunity to commemorate the 250th anniversaries of events that led to the War for Independence—from the dedication of the first “Liberty Tree” in August 2015 to the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Old State House in July 2026.
These commemorations are an opportunity to bring together Boston’s communities and engage Boston residents and visitors in conversations about the roots of self-government and the relevance of liberty for Americans today.
The first event of the American Revolution was the gathering of Bostonians under the “Liberty Tree” from August 14th–27th 1765. Today the site of the Liberty Tree is an overlooked and underutilized plaza at the corner of Washington and Essex Streets, but during those two weeks, 250 years ago, the site bristled with ordinary people calling for political change and arguing over what shape that change should take.
The Liberty Tree Project is a public art event conceived by Michael Dowling of Medicine Wheel Productions joining with community members from Ostiguy High School, Boston Asian: Youth Essential Service, St. Francis House, South Boston en Accion and the Museum of African American History along with historians from various sites in Boston. Drawing on the Revolutionary-era tradition of illuminating the Liberty Tree with lanterns, we are creating 108 copper lanterns with unique handcrafted sleeves stamped with images carved by members of the five community groups.
On August 14th these community groups along with members of the Boston History Community and with the support of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District will carry the illuminated lanterns from different points in the city to Liberty Tree Plaza in commemoration of the voices and actions of ordinary Bostonians 250 years ago and as testimony to liberty’s enduring importance in our lives today. Digital projections of images and quotes from the Revolutionary era and today will give historic resonance to our understanding of liberty and will underscore the importance of constructive civic dialogue to contemporary American society.
This project was made possible with support from Boston National Historical Park and Eastern National and the Boston Cultural Council.